How Donald Trump Could Get Prince Harry Kicked Out of America

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty

Donald Trump can be a vengeful enemy, with a nose for opportunist attacks on the progressives his base loathes, often pejoratively characterized as “woke.” So it wasn’t, perhaps, entirely surprising to see him merrily re-open his feud with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last week by telling Britain’s Daily Express newspaper, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, that if he wins a second term this November, Harry will be “on his own.”

Trump said, “I wouldn’t protect him. He betrayed the queen. That’s unforgivable. He would be on his own if it was down to me.” Of Joe Biden’s approach to Harry, he added, according to the Daily Mail: “I think they have been too gracious to him after what he has done.”

It was the latest shot in a feud that has its roots in a 2016 Comedy Central panel show when Meghan, then an actress and not yet publicly linked to Harry, expressed her disapproval of Trump, labelling him “misogynistic” and “divisive” and joked she might move to Canada if Trump was elected president.

Trump Attacks Prince Harry’s ‘Unforgivable’ Betrayal of Queen Elizabeth

This was the comment that Trump later famously referred to as “nasty” when he was asked about it ahead of his state visit to the U.K. in June 2019, by which time two quirks of fate largely unforeseen in 2016 had come to pass: he was President and Meghan had married Harry.

Then, ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Meghan and Harry encouraged Americans to vote, in a video seen by many as a subtle endorsement of Joe Biden. Trump responded to this by taking a jab at Meghan during a press conference, suggesting that she led Harry “by the nose” and had been “disrespectful” to Queen Elizabeth.

In 2022, Trump told noted Meghan critic Piers Morgan: “Harry is whipped like no person I think I’ve ever seen.” He predicted the couple would divorce, saying, “It’ll end, and it’ll end bad… I want to know what’s going to happen when Harry decides he’s had enough of being bossed around… Or maybe when she decides that she likes some other guy better. I want to know what’s going to happen when it ends, OK?”

Trump made the new remarks when responding to questions from the Express’s U.S. editor David Maddox, who was questioning Trump over the bizarre saga of efforts by the Heritage Foundation (a conservative think-tank) to get a look at Prince Harry’s immigration application.

The Heritage Foundation (best known, perhaps, as the publisher of the right-wing blogosphere staple the Daily Signal) has spent over a year now seeking to get access to Harry’s application. The government has refused to hand the documentation over, saying such paperwork is always regarded as a private and confidential matter.

Meghan and Harry attend the 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award Gala in New York City, U.S., December 6, 2022.

Meghan and Harry attend the 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award Gala in New York City, U.S., December 6, 2022.

Andrew Kelly/Reuters

The Heritage Foundation says, however, that this is an exceptional case because admission of illegal drug use typically disqualifies an applicant from being allowed to immigrate. In his memoir, Spare, Harry admitted to using drugs. He said cocaine “didn’t do anything for me,” and that during a magic mushroom trip he hallucinated that a toilet was talking to him. He has since talked openly about smoking weed and doing psychedelic therapy.

Therefore, the Heritage Foundation says, he either lied and said he was not a drug user on his forms, or else admitted it and was given special treatment by the government, and they want to know which it is.

Biden administration lawyers (not Harry, whose team did not respond to a request from The Daily Beast for comment) have been resisting the Heritage Foundation’s action. The case was in court last week, where administration lawyers argued that Harry may have made up the claims of drug use in his memoir to “sell books.” The Heritage Foundation’s Nile Gardiner said, according to the Telegraph, that this was a “ridiculous argument,” saying, “He has never denied anything in his own book... including the extensive widespread drug use.”

Trump has long marketed himself as a royalist, and was effusive in his praise of the late Queen Elizabeth II, whom he met during a 2019 state visit and has regularly praised as a “beautiful” person. But his new attack on Harry is probably best understood less as the outpourings of a wounded monarchist than as an attack on Meghan by proxy.

It’s no secret why Meghan makes an attractive target for Trumpian outrage, given she and her husband have regularly identified themselves as cheerleaders for progressive causes. Meghan, in particular, has been vocal on issues such as gender equality, racial justice, and voter registration.

Harry and Meghan thus make convenient rallying stations against “woke” culture and a perceived hypocritical liberal elite that is out of touch with, or even antagonistic towards, “traditional” values and ways of life. In the ongoing polarized environment of the culture wars, Trump’s attack on them fits the overall strategy of aligning himself with a certain demographic.

The chilling reality for Harry is that foreign residents of the U.S. have very few rights. If Trump really, really wanted to kick Harry out of the country, and he is on a visa, it would be exceptionally easy.

One immigration attorney who asked not to be named told The Daily Beast: “If he is on a non-immigrant visa (such as an O-1), the easiest way for Trump to have influence would be for the Department of State to not renew his visa, or to cancel it. DOS decisions are discretionary and very susceptible to political influence. His visa could be cancelled. He could be denied entry upon return to the U.S. from foreign travel for inadmissibility due to prior drug usage, despite an unexpired visa in his passport. There are many scenarios where political influence could impact Harry’s ability to re-enter the US.”

The lawyer cited the case of the British celebrity Nigella Lawson who was famously denied access to the U.S. over admissions of drug use in 2013.

The attorney said they suspected it is unlikely Harry has sought a green card—which would give him considerable protection against being deported—given that he has held on to some of his royal titles and associations. Harry said in a recent interview that he had considered becoming a U.S citizen; some might say it would be a good idea to see if he can do so before November.

Neither Donald Trump’s office nor Prince Harry’s office returned a request for comment.

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